Emma Watson Delivers Passionate UN Speech On Gender Equality
By Zach Seemayer
Emma Watson is taking the fight for feminism to the front-lines, delivering a powerful message to the men of the world to take up the struggle for gender equality.
Watson, who was appointed to the role of the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador earlier this year, delivered a speech on the floor of the UN to launch the new HeForShe initiative, which advocates for total equality without the use of negative rhetoric and for getting men to join the political and social battle.
"We want to end gender inequality," the 24-year-old Harry Potter star told the assembly. "And to do this, we need everyone involved… We want to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change."
Watson went on to argue that feminism is about equality, not separation, and without everyone fighting for change, change may not be possible.
"The more I have spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women's rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating," she said. "If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop. For the record, feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes."
Explaining her struggle, she told the audience, "When I was 8, I was confused about being called 'bossy' because I wanted to direct the plays that we would put on for our parents. But the boys were not. When at 14, I started to be sexualized by certain elements of the media, when at 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of their beloved sports teams, because they didn't want to appear 'muscle-y,' when at 18, my males friends were unable to express their feelings, I decided that I was a feminist. And this seems uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word."
She added, "Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently, I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, 'too aggressive,' isolating and anti-men, unattractive, even. Why has the word become such an uncomfortable one?"
Watson's powerful and passionate speech elucidates both the importance of gender equality and the clear, concise argument for why all people of all genders and races should be fighting for the cause.
"If you believe in equality, you might be one of those inadvertent feminists that I spoke of earlier and for this, I applaud you. We are struggling for a uniting word but the good news is that we have a uniting movement," she concluded. "It is called HeForShe. I am inviting you to step forward to be seen and to ask yourself, 'If not me, who? If not now, when?' Thank you very, very much."
See her full speech below.
Bonus! Pharrell Williams is also a celebrity with a cause, and he's doing so through song!